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Martin Harper|Occupational Hygiene Education in Developed and Developing Countries

Date:2017-07-27Author:
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Martin Harper

Ph.D

Director of Scientific Research

Zefon Corporation


He received a degree in Geology from Oxford University; a Post-Graduate Diploma in Environmental Pollution Controls; a Master of Science in Earth Sciences and the Environment; and he obtained his PhD in occupational health research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In 1987 he moved to the USA and began work with SKC Inc., before becoming an Associate Professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He also helped organize the Occupational & Environmental Safety and Health degree program at the University of the West Indies. In 2002, Dr. Harper became Chief of the Exposure Assessment Branch in the Health Effects Laboratory Division of the US NIOSH, in Morgantown, WV, until the beginning of 2017, when he left to set up a new team in the NIOSH Pittsburgh Mining Research Division. At the end of May this year, he became the Director of Scientific Research for Zefon Corporation, a company specializing in air monitoring equipment. He is a Chartered Chemist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and he is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and Fellow of the American Industrial Hygiene Association. He has over 130 publications. 


Topic of Lecture: Occupational Hygiene Education in Developed and Developing Countries

Abstract: The desire amongst students for education is typically driven by the employment market. In 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act in the USA set up the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Both institutions required staff, particularly OSHA, which required inspectors to enforce the new regulations. The OSH Act mandated “…  directly or by grants and contracts, education programs to provide an adequate supply of qualified personnel to carry out the purposes of this Act....” NIOSH therefore organized 11 Educational Resource Centers at Universities around the country, which were later renamed Education and Research Centers, and the number increased to 18 today. The ERCs provide interdisciplinary graduate training in Industrial Hygiene (IH), Occupational Health Nursing, Occupational Medicine (OM), Occupational Safety (OS), and other fields of occupational safety and health (OSH). In 2013, over 700 students were enrolled in programs offered by these ERCs, with 65% of the students supported by NIOSH. In addition, NIOSH supports Training Project Grants (TPGs): 10 in IH, 5 in OM, 9 in OS, 7 in allied OSH, and 3 non-academic. NIOSH also awards various individual grants to researchers and has a Small Business Innovation Research grant program. A similar employment need arose more recently in the Caribbean. Most English-speaking (CARICOM) countries had achieved independence from the United Kingdom in the 1960’s, prior to the UK’s Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974. The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) supported an upgrade of legislation within the CARICOM countries, which again would require trained professionals including enforcement inspectors. In 2005, the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, now extending to Trinidad, set up an Occupational and Environmental Safety & Health Program to train students in the required competencies.